The Men in Green go up against Eoin Morgan and his men in the first ODI at the Oval in London on Wednesday and Sarfraz is delighted with the chance to finetune his side’s preparations for the World Cup to follow.
“It is definitely a big advantage for us, playing five top-quality ODIs before the World Cup,” the Pakistan skipper stated on the eve of the first ODI.
“We’re all focusing on the World Cup. But our first target is this ODI series.
“If we can take some confidence from this series, it will definitely help us in this World Cup.”
On his own batting position, the wicketkeeper batsman is hoping to bat as high as No4 or No5 in the upcoming ODI series as well as in the World Cup. The right-hander has previously been coming at No6 in the batting order for the most part.
“My aim is in England to bat four or five, throughout the World Cup,” Sarfraz remarked.
“We’ve come to a World Cup, it’s a long tournament so it’s good to have a stable and set batting order in which everyone knows where they are batting.
“We will obviously be flexible so that when there are fewer overs left we might switch around if we need somebody as a hitter and look at sending Imad (Wasim) or Asif (Ali).”
Pakistan come to England on the back of a 5-0 ODI whitewash at the hands of Australia in the UAE. They will be hoping to take inspiration from their 2017 ICC Champions Trophy triumph at the Oval against India as they begin their final stretch of games before the start of the 2019 World Cup.
The young pacer had shown plenty of promise after a breakthrough year in international cricket but he will now be replaced by Kane Richardson in Australia’s 15-man squad for the World Cup.
Jhye Richardson had earlier picked up the shoulder injury while fielding in the deep during the ODI series between Pakistan and Australia in the UAE.
“This is, obviously, very disappointing news for the team and for Jhye, who has been exceptional throughout his rehabilitation process,” Australia team physiotherapist David Beakley was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.
“After his most recent assessment and attempting to bowl in the nets, it was clear that Jhye was not progressing as fast as required and therefore, in consultation with selectors, we made the decision to withdraw him from the squad.
“Jhye will continue with his rehabilitation and we will look to resume bowling in the coming weeks. At this stage, we are still hopeful that he could be available for the Australia A tour of England.”
The 22-year-old pacer will now be aiming to be fit in time for Australia A’s tour of England which is set to take place at the end of June. He will hope to make his case for an Ashes call up during the tour with the historic Test series between England and Australia due to start in August.
Since making his ODI debut for Australia last year, Richardson has gone on to claim 24 wickets in 12 matches at an average of just over 26. The right-armed pacer was handed his Test debut at the start of the year in Australia’s home series against Sri Lanka.
Half-centuries from openers Tamim Iqbal and Saumya Sarkar were at the forefront of Bangladesh’s crushing eight-wicket win over West Indies as the Tigers opened their ODI tri-series campaign at Dublin in some style.
Despite a second consecutive ODI ton from Shai Hope, West Indies could only post 261-9 in their 50 overs after choosing to bat first.
In reply, Bangladesh cantered to victory after a 144-run opening stand between Tamim and Sarkar which completely deflated the Windies bowling unit.
It was a contrasting display from both openers with Tamim choosing to approach the chase in circumspect fashion while Sarkar took the attack to Windies’ bowlers.
Sarkar scored his 73 runs off just 68 deliveries while Tamim took as many as 116 balls for his 80. Chase provided West Indies with the much-needed breakthrough by ending Sarkar’s stay at the crease before Tamim perished to the bowling of Shannon Gabriel.
However, there would be no dramatic collapse from Bangladesh with Shakib Al Hasan registering a fluent fifty to ease the side to a thumping eight-wicket win.
Earlier, newly appointed ODI vice-captain Shai Hope slammed a second consecutive ton to give West Indies an excellent start with the bat at Dublin.
Hope and fellow opener Sunil Ambris added 89 runs for the first wicket before the latter was dismissed by Mehidy Hasan Miraz.
Bangladesh struck again almost immediately with Shakib Al Hasan sending back Darren Bravo but Windies were in control once again following another vital stand between Hope and Roston Chase.
The two batsmen forged a 115-run partnership with Chase bringing up a superb half-century. Both the set batsmen were eventually dismissed in quick succession by Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza with West Indies losing their way in the death overs from a strong position of 205-2.
Bangladesh’s bowlers, especially Mortaza and Mohammad Saifuddin, were excellent in the final nine overs or so with Windies suffering a late batting collapse.
Bangladesh seamer Mustafizur Rahman picked up two wickets but had an expensive outing with his 10 overs going for 84 runs. Mortaza was the pick of Bangladesh bowlers with the captain claiming three wickets in a tidy display.
West Indies: 261-9
Shai Hope: 109 (132)
Mashrafe Mortaza: 3-49
Tamim Iqbal: 80 (116)
Saumya Sarkar: 73 (68)
Shakib Al Hasan: 61 not out (61)